The Empty Chair

I had a goal. A goal to give my baby breast milk for twelve months. Whether that may be through bottle or breast. With my first one, I pumped milk for 8 months but with so much we had saved up, we pretty much made it to twelve months with JUST breast milk. With my second, I wanted to do it similarly. As Abbie’s birth was quickly approaching, I had my mind made up that I was going to give breast feeding a shot. I forewarned myself that I would at least try but if she didn’t latch or I was getting too frustrated with trying that I would stop.

Breastfeeding is HARD, boy is it. No one ever tells you how hard breastfeeding actually is. All you hear is how good it is for your baby and how the bond between you and your baby will strengthen. I didn’t know there would be more sleepless nights with me crying in my bed because my boobs hurt than actual restful  nights. I didn’t know that I couldn’t go anywhere without my baby because she was exclusively breastfeeding. Worst of all, I didn’t know that I could get so upset for her not latching, that I would yell at her.

If only I had someone to tell me back then that I was going to make it to eighteen months. I guarantee that a lot less tears would have been shed. During month zero through seven, my nightly routine of bathing and feeding her became a two hour deal. It became very draining since I would be away from my family for two hours EACH NIGHT just to get her down to sleep. She would eat for about 45 minutes and then doze off while I was rocking away in the chair. Right as I put her in her bassinet, she’d wake up. I didn’t know what else to do but to start all over again with nursing her for another half hour. That was my night; just me, my chair and my baby.. each and every night. But like all else, I knew this too shall pass.

Each week, it became easier and easier to put her down. After we got our bedtime routine down to under an hour, things were more enjoyable and I began to LOVE our time we had together, just her and I. Breastfeeding became a bonding moment that I looked forward to every night.

EIGHTEEN MONTHS. The reason I keep saying it is because I am so damn proud of myself. After the twelfth month, I often got asked by my husband and other family members when I was going to stop. I just politely told then that I would be done when she is done. Side note: When did it become the “norm” to stop ALL breastfeeding at twelve months? I don’t think I’ll ever understand that.

Everything comes to an end at some point and that day was four days before her eighteen month birthday. If I said I was completely thrilled about being done with breastfeeding, I’d be lying. I think it was harder for me to let go of this phase of life than it was for her. I guess in a way I didn’t want ‘our moments’ to end. However, I knew our breastfeeding journey was soon coming to an end when she was becoming less and less interested in latching for more than 5 minutes. It was the perfect win-win for both of us to draw a line in the sand and stop.

So for now, the rocking chair where we once spent hours each night together, remains empty. Does she still ask for ‘boobies’ if she sees me naked? Always. Would I ever go back and not breastfeed her? Never. I feel there will always be a special bond that only her and I share and for that I am so grateful.

Xox,

Marlee

*Mamas, this post is in no way promoting breastfeeding over bottle fed over formula fed babies. This post was just simply just share my journey of hardships and joys throughout my breastfeeding experience. I support ALL mamas because we are in this together!

” As moms, we are in it together — raising the future. We are a tribe of future makers. So let’s support each other.” Marrisa Hermer

A Date with Disney

Over this past weekend, my family had the chance to visit “The Happiest Place on Earth.” We thought it would be fun to take our girls to see the Magic Kingdom during Halloween time since neither of us had gone before. So we packed up the girls and Nana and left for our magical vacation.

I am not the type of person to just go on a trip all willy-nilly without some kind of plan of attack.  Before embarking on our adventure, I did a ton of research on ‘tricks and secrets’ behind Disneyland. I was always curious on if these secrets were really true, so I compiled of few of them and put them to the test. So here they are for you:

  1. You can get free souvenirs simply by asking. Verdict: FACT. Before entering The Jungle Cruise, you can nicely ask a cast member for a antique style map. Also, each cast member around the park has stickers that they keep on hand. If you ask nice enough, you can have one or two.
  2. There is a real pet cemetery near The Haunted Mansion line. Ask a cast member and they will take you to it. Verdict: PARTLY TRUE. Disneyland does in fact have a pet cemetery behind this attraction, however, the cast members are NOT allowed to take guests there. When I asked one of the cast members about this secret, they said that they used to be able to take people there, but due to a safety issue they can no longer do this.
  3. Make your single day ticket worthwhile. Make sure to look out for a worker with a tablet and answer their survey. You’ll get a free ticket for another day. Verdict: MYTH. I am so bummed about this one. Although, I thought it was kind of a long shot, I was most excited to try out this secret. BUT it is a big fact myth. First off, the surveys are given to random guests, so if you ask to take to a survey, they will do do that. On our final day of Disney, we were chosen to do a ‘random’ survey, I was ecstatic! We finished our 3 questions, and then the cast member said “Okay, that’s it! Thank you!” My husband and I looked at each other, deeply saddened because we didn’t get our free Disney ticket. So, either I am just an extremely unlucky person or, whoever came up with this Disney secret is delusional because there was definitely no free ticket for doing a survey.
  4. In the Haunted Mansion’s ballroom, lean forward until you can see the floor where there’s spilled wine. There is a ghost passed out under the table. Verdict: FACT. You have to look really hard and not blink because you will miss it. However, there is indeed a passed out ghost under the table.ACS_0209
  5. Always try to go to the line of left instead of right line. Verdict: FACT. We’ve tetsed this theory over and over again and it deems true! Out of instinct, people usually head towards the right lines which makes them super long. So try it out and go towards the left and you’ll thank me!
  6. At any pickle stand in Disneyland if you ask an employee how their day was, they’ll give you a free pickle. Verdict: MYTH. Unfortunately, this one was a myth as well. When we asked a pickle stand cast member how their day was, they replied “good, thank you!” And then we stood there looking at each other. My husband finally asked if we get a free pickle. The cast member had no idea wheat we were talking about. Needless to say, we felt pretty stupid haha.

Welp, those are the ‘secrets’ we tried out this time while at Disneyland. If anyone has any other ‘Disneyland secrets’ that they have tried out, I would love to hear them!

Xox,

Marlee

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Mouthwatering Pumpkin Bread

Happy October!

It’s finally October. Finally an acceptable time to decorate for fall! (Those who know me already know that I’ve had my house decorated for fall since August 31st.) October means FINALLY cooler weather! It’s 78 degrees out right now and I’m wearing UGG boots and a chunky sweater. Call me basic, but who cares… I am who I am.

Anyways, whenever I think of my favorite part of Fall, I reminisce of my childhood. My mom scouring the grocery ads for the best price on canned pumpkin. Mhmm, PUMPKIN BREAD. Sinking my teeth into the first bite of the season and the bread just melting in my mouth. I remember coming home from school knowing she made this recipe even before I walk into the house. The smell of pumpkin has me longing for another bite even after Fall is gone.

Today, my friends, I share with you our recipe. Advisory: You may become very selfish while consuming this bread and not want to share with anyone. 

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MOUTH WATERING PUMPKIN BREAD:

Ingredients:

5 eggs

1- 1/4 cups of vegetable oil

1 can (15 ounces) solid packed pumpkin (I ALWAYS use Libbys )

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 packages Jello cook- and- serve VANILLA pudding mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt ( I use just a tad more)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs.
  • Add in oil and pumpkin; beat until smooth.
  • In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture
  • Pour batter into greased loaf pan ( I use a bundt cake pan).
  • Bake for 55 minutes ( time will depend on efficiency of oven. I suggest checking bread after 45 minutes.)
  • To check if loaf is done, place toothpick in center of pan. If it comes out clean.. your pumpkin bread is DONE!
  • Let cool on wire rack
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional)
  • ENJOY!

**TIP: you may want to cover edges with tin foil about 45 minutes in.

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For muffins: bake for 25 minutes

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Tell me, what fall recipe brings you back to your childhood? I’m always looking for new recipes to try! Comment below.

If you do try this recipe, comment below your thoughts!!

Until next time friends,

Marlee

 

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Wakeup and makeup.. in less than 15 minutes

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Isn’t there something about putting a little makeup on that makes the day so much better? There is for me at least.

Being a working mom of two, I am always looking for ways to cut my time that I spend getting ready.. because who has that much time anyways? Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I like to experiment with other kinds of makeup for occasions like date night or a night out with my girls, but for every day use I like to keep it as simple as possible.

Here’s is my 15 minute makeup routine:

  • I ALWAYS ALWAYS start with a clean face. This is a big deal for me. I didn’t used to do this but now that I do I see a huge difference in the longevity of my makeup.
  • Moisturize and prime. Again another step that I thought was pointless, BUT IT IS NOT. Trust me, you will notice a difference in your makeup life if you add this step in your routine.
  • Foundation. I now use a cream based foundation that I absolutely LOVE. This stuff covers everything! I do avoid using foundation under my eyes and on my eyelids since I use concealer for those things. Layering concealer over foundation will cause unwanted creases.
  • Conceal don’t feel. ( I just watched Frozen this morning with my little one so I had to write that haha) Okay, no but really. Concealer is my life. Without this little piece of heaven, I would like a homeless zombie. I have mad bags under my eyes because, well I’m a mom. My lightweight waterproof concealer hides tiredness without making it look too cakey. I think the biggest tip I have about concealing is finding the RIGHT brush to apply it with! BONUS TIP: Apply concealer in a triangle shape underneath your eyes to get the best results!

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  • Apply setting powder (aka translucent powder). Setting powder is another big thing for me. If I forget this step, because I sometimes do, I definitely regret it later on. The translucent powder adds a matte finish to your makeup to decrease the oil shine. I mainly focus on my forehead and chin because those are my oil driven problem areas.
  • Fill in Eyebrows. Ive been contemplating doing microblading on my eyebrow so I can eliminate this tip all together, but something about tattooing my facing freaks me out. So until then, I will manually fill in my own eyebrows. This is also a very important step in my makeup routine. My eyebrows need to be done or else I don’t feel complete.
  • Bronzer. This is a new friend of mine. Bronzer was never part of my everyday makeup routine until one of my good friends turned me on to it a while back. Now I use it every day!
  • Blush, blush, blush. I don’t think there is a day I go without wearing my blush. I currently rotate through three different blushes depending on my mood. Pink, mauve, and a nudist pink.
  • Mascara. I recently just found the perfect application process for my mascara after literally YEARS of trial and error. I first apply a one step mascara to my lashes. before that dries, I then apply a two- step mascara (fiber lashes). Using this technique in this order has transformed my eyelashes and I get asked every day if my lashes are fake.
  • Last, but not least is finishing spray. I actually use my primer, as stated above, as my finishing spray as well!! Its so versatile!

And THAT’S IT! It takes me 12 minutes to do all of this. Twelve minutes to not feel and look like a zombie anymore.

Scroll down to see my favorite products and where to purchase them!

I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any other tips on makeup routines or application, comment below! I’d love to hear!

Xox,

Marlee

Facewash

Moisturizer

Translucent powder

Primer/ Setting spray

Foundation

Concealer

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

Bronzer

Hot Mama Blush

Mascara (one step): Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt

Mascara (two step):Voluminous Superstar X Fiber

Lets go on an Adventure

This past weekend we got to explore the great outdoors for the very first time as a family of four. Before this weekend, Brooklyn and Abbie had never had the chance to sleep in the crisp, cool air or roast marshmallows by the fire. We decided as a family to ‘go off the grid’ and be unplugged from the world for a couple days. This was an experience that was quite unforgettable to say the least.

After four pee breaks, three hour drive, and one long detour later we arrived at our camping destination. We set up our tents, started a fire, unfolded our chairs and left the rest up to fate. With not having a lot of experience with the outdoors, I googled A LOT about ‘how to camp (successfully) with kids.’

I put together of the best tips that worked best for us.

DO BRING LOTS AND LOTS OF BABY WIPES. These were pretty much our best friend in the outdoors. Need to wipe down the table? Use a baby wipe. Need to wash your hands? Use a baby wipe. Need to give the baby a bath? Use a baby wipe or two.

DON’T FORGET TO DOUBLE CHECK WHAT YOU’RE BRINGING. When going camping, I think one of the best things I’ve learned is to double even triple check your gear before leaving home. As we were getting ready to blow up our mattress, we discovered that our air mattress needed to be plugged into a wall outlet to fill up. However, we thought ” No, big deal.. we’ll use the air pump we brought.” NOPE, that used electricity too. So we had to scrap the whole blow up mattress idea and had to ‘rough it” by stacking mounds of blankets on the ground.

DO BRING PLENTY OF BLANKETS. It was COLD at night. Colder than I actually expected it to be. Especially since the girls had never had a night outside like this, it was good to have so many blankets. Before we left for our trip, my husband said to me, “Don’t you think we’re going a little overboard on blankets?” First off I thought, one can NEVER have too many blankets. Secondly, This is what saved us after the whole air mattress fiasco.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO LEAVE YOUR CAMPSITE AND EXPLORE. This was one of the best things we did this weekend. Our kids got dirty, they found new leaves they’ve never seen before, they collected pine cones, they breathed in the fresh air. They learned that there’s more to life than YouTube videos and Vampirina.

DO GO WITHOUT HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Being outdoors is such a great experience, but it can be very unpredictable. If you’re anything like me, you like lists, you like preparing, and you like knowing whats going to happen next. Going camping I quickly realized I couldn’t prepare for everything. I couldn’t prepare for our car bottoming out in a ditch. I couldn’t prepare for the massive amount of bees that surrounded our campsite. I also couldn’t prepare for the epic fail of a breakfast we had on our last morning. But most importantly, I couldn’t prepare myself for the amount of happiness I saw that poured out of my daughters and husband.

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Final tip and frankly I think the one that made the most impact on us:

DO DISCONNECT FROM TECHNOLOGY. Time stood still being unplugged. It felt like the day lasted forever. Being unplugged from our phone meant we weren’t relying on our technology to tell us when to eat or when to take a nap. This time away really allowed us to connect as a family in a way we could have never done here in the city. Camping holds a special place in our hearts now and we will be going again real soon.

If anyone has any other camping tips they’d like to share, comment them below. I’d love to hear them!!

Talk soon,

Marlee

Meet me at the Barre

Okay, no, not your local pub.. Come on guys, it’s 6:45 in the morning. What do you think I am, a drunk? Although I do enjoy a glass of sangria sometimes before noon but that’s besides the point.

Before I dive into details of what Barre3 is and why it has made such an impact on my life, here’s a back story of my previous workout routine.  A few years ago, aka before kids, I would go to the gym every morning. The only thing I wanted to do at the gym was run on the treadmill. I never wanted to venture onto something different because I was always afraid of becoming ‘too bulky’. So I would spend an hour on the treadmill five- six times a week with very little to show from it besides sore knees and feet. Eventually I stopped running and going to the gym all together.

Fast forward 4 years later, still sitting here drinking my coffee, I was determined to find a work out routine that fits my lifestyle. That’s when I met Barre3. Barre3 is a local yoga/ pilates studio that I have had the pleasure to be apart of for the past few months. It delivers a full body workout using a low impact intensity. Honestly, I didn’t think much about going into my first class. I thought ” I’ve done hot yoga before, how much harder can this be.” After the first fifteen minutes, I was sweating more than I have ever done in my life. And, well, you can say that I immediately ate my words and they tasted like dirt.

Whether young or old, pear-shaped or apple-shaped, or tall or skinny, I’ve seen you in my class. There’s something so empowering about finding a work out routine that not only makes my body stronger, but also my mind. We start off with simple breathing techniques to clear our mind of all the junk, followed by 45 minutes of small range movements, sustained holds and cardio bursts that create a sense of achievement after each class. In the short time that I have been a Barre3 member, I have already seen changes in my body. I notice that I don’t have back pain anymore every time I pick up my 3-year-old. I notice my pants fitting a little looser. But most importantly I notice confidence in myself that I have not seen in a very long time.

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Are you using your children as an excuse to not work out? Being a mom of two young ones, I get that it’s hard to find time to pee by yourself, let alone work out by yourself. However, Barre3 has a solution for that. They’ve created 300+ workout that you can stream right from your living room. You don’t even have to leave your pajamas to feel balanced and empowered. I call that a win-win in my book.

Trust me, I still have so much work left to do, but I am one step further to getting there.

Xox,

Marlee

P.s- If you are a Phoenix local, I’d love to take you to a class with me! Comment below. Your first one is FREE!

Take a look for yourself: Barre3

(This post is in no way sponsored by Barre3. These are my honest and unbiased opinions.)

Mama only has 2 hands

img_7327*whining* ” Mama, mama, mom, maaaaaaaammmaaaaaa!”

This is what I heard 90% of my morning today and it is only 9 o’clock am…. man that sound can get old…

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Hi, my name is Marlee. I created this blog  to speak to the working moms, the stay at home moms, the stressed out moms, the relaxed moms, the single moms and the married moms, to say “Its okay to not have it together all the time”. I am a mom of two; Brooklyn, age 3 and Abigail age 1. Raising two little ones, leaves very little down time. My girls are my everything and I would do anything to keep them out of harms way. I always knew even at a very young age that I was going to be a mom. Momming was in my blood. However, now I sometimes think to myself, ” This is not what I signed up for.”

My day is a constant battle between missing their little faces while they’re sleeping and reminding myself there is only 4 more hours before nap time. It never seems like there is enough time in the day to work, keep the house clean, to do the piles of laundry, and remember to eat. Anyone else feel this way?

Being a mom is HARD WORK. You have these little human beings that depend on you to guide them and show them the ways of the world. We have a huge responsibility to raise our children to someday be functional and independent adults. I mean, if that doesn’t scare you a little bit, I don’t know what will. Thankfully I have a husband who is in it to win it with me or else I would be beside myself. (I give those of who are single parents a pat on the back, a huge hug and a freakin’ high five. Y’all are rockstars!)

I need to remind myself every day that there is no such thing as being a ‘perfect mom’, which is why I often feel so spread thin. Sometimes I just need a break. I just need a time-out from my own kids.. and you know what? It is okay! I love my kids, but it is okay to for me to not ‘like’ my kids sometimes. I only have two hands… I can only do so much. I have to know when to walk away for a minute and reboot. Because I believe so strongly that when you are not at your best, you cannot give your best to your children. Your children don’t need a ‘perfect mom’, they just need THEIR mom. THAT, my friends is gold advice that I got from a dear friend.

Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll get this ‘mom thing’ figured out. But in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy one more spill, one more mess, and one more sibling argument. Because for one day, my house will be silent and clean and I will look back and miss those chaotic days.

 

Until next time,

Marlee